Being a trio from Olympia, on Sub Pop, and sounding an awful lot like Nirvana’s dirgier songs is pretty much a guarantee that your album is going to find me and that I’m going to give it a few spins. Furthermore, if your songs all have hints of hooks in them but don’t really develop into anything more than a collection of riffs over their four minutes, being all of those things I mentioned at the top is pretty much guaranteed that I’m going to listen to your album 20 times trying to love the damned thing.
Strange Wilds is billed as sounding a lot like Bleach-era Nirvana, but I think there’s plenty of Nevermind and In Utero in here, too. Some of the songs sounded so similar to parts of Nirvana songs that I did a quick run through the Nirvana catalog doing some comparisons looking for the direct musical quotes, but couldn’t find them. It is possible they tapped into something in the air or water (or heroin) down in Olympia and were able to channel some unwritten or possibly discarded Nirvana riffs from throughout the years.
That possibility hung before me, a child of the 90’s, like a beacon of hope that maybe, just maybe, what with Alice In Chains’ successful resurrection, Soundgarden at least attempting one, and Pearl Jam’s penultimate album being quite good, grunge could have a true second coming (and not that second wave of grunge crap led by Bush, et al.) with the veterans and the rookies locked arm in arm, guitar in guitar, battling against and vanquishing moody hipster Brooklyn iPad shit.
Unfortunately, that beacon is, at best, a light at the end of a very long tunnel. Beyond the muddy production (which is a good thing here) and those riffs that seem ripped from my high school years, these guys shouldn’t really be compared to Nirvana at all. Apart from a few throwaways on Incesticide, these tracks don’t compare to Nirvana songs. There’s more of an exhausting noise merchant vibe going on here than one of pop songcraft.
Still, I can’t write these guys off completely. This is only a debut album, and maybe if they tour the country and get a little more optimism in their life than Olympia can offer they’ll develop some more song-crafty sensibilities, which I’m willing to admit might be more of a late-breaking skill. I’ll almost certainly give their second album a try, too. So I guess being a trio from Olympia, on Sub Pop, and sounding a lot like Nirvana is enough to get me to listen to at least two of your albums.
Meh: “Pronoia,” “Starved For,” “Autothysis,” “Don’t Have To,” “Oneirophobe,” “Disdain,” “Pareidolia,” “Terrible,” “Lost And Found,” “Outercourse”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Pronoia – “can’t find a sandwich!” Would be Like at half the length
- Starved For – intro is like “Breed”? “I’d say that’s about right.” Again, close to Like
- Autothysis – They’re all Meh so far but this is easily the worst one, never really approaching Like. “Do I look like him?”
- Don’t Have To –
- Egophilia – the punkiest one. barks out lyrics.
- Oneirophobe – “I can’t think any louder” Back to almost Like here. The bridge is really nicely chunky.
- Disdain –
- Pareidolia – “I’m not really like that/Except for when I am”
- Terrible – “No one calling my name”
- Lost And Found – “I don’t wanna know” great start, then gets too long.
- Outercourse –